Friday, September 2, 2011

Urban Eatery – Food Court Fine Dining?

If you live in Toronto or work near the financial district in the heart of the city….you will know that the number of places to dine at are endless. To the point where sometimes you don’t even know what you want to eat cuz there’s just SO MANY choices!! From your fine dining, to the on-the-go fast food….the possibilities are endless. Well, recently there’s been another breathtaking addition to the Toronto dining experience…..a luxurious, fancy food court at its finest. The Urban Eatery is located at Toronto’s largest indoor mall, the Toronto Eaton Centre on the lower level…this food court used to be a dump – chairs everywhere, tables uncleaned, used Styrofoam plates & cups everywhere. It wasn’t anywhere you’d want to eat in or even grab food from for that matter. That has since all changed….after a whoopin $48million and 14 months in renovations & revamping, we present the fanciest, go-green, stylish food court. (rest assured….I have photos to follow)

Everything about this food court screams style – from the artistic color schemes of each food place to the awesome looking (but not sure if comfortable) tables and chairs. Hell, even McDonalds is fancy! *cue the “fancy” song….oh u fancy huh, u fancy huh* Oh did I mention that this food court uses no Styrofoam or paper anything? All your cups, plates, utensils are REAL dishes….like the kind you wash and disinfect. That is their way of showing go-green support. I kinda like that idea of not eating like a barbarian on a paper/Styrofoam plate…but I’m not sure how well that will go down the road. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Now on to the dining experience….

When I first walked in all I could think was….this place is HUGE!! And then had this urge to run around with my shoes off like a kid at chuck-e-cheese, screaming my head off. Weirdo. I know……I digress. They had taken out some stores from the lower level to be able to accommodate such a massive food court. Granted, with the daily pedestrian traffic in the Toronto Eaton Centre, a food court this size is necessary. The place was spic-n-span clean, with “collection stations”, which is where you place your tray and dining wares, after you are done eating. With the size of this place, you actually have to take a walk around the food court to see all your choices before deciding on what you want to eat….that’s if you’re not still trying to decide between two places (my problem was big smoke burger or jimmy the greek). Once you decide what you want to eat, you stand in line and wait endlessly for your food….some places are better than others, as it’s less prepping but the “feeling” and vibe is the same as any other food court. I don’t know why I expected to come out of here having an “AHHH” *cue: angels singing* feeling?? Moving onto the food…

I had a cheeseburger combo with fries & coke from “Big Smoke Burger” – I’m not quite sure if it’s the charcoal smell that drew me to this place or the fact that I wanted to be a fatty today (err….today?) and have a burger. Regretfully, I forgot to take a pic of the most important thing….the burger!! BUT I’ll go back…..hahahaha. The burger was done okay…better than most places I guess, and it wasn’t bad tasting. It some-what reminded me of this burger place, Johnny’s (it’s NOT the same as Johnny Rockets) and apparently the fries are freshly cut everyday….I was impressed but at the same time, I didn’t get the “AHHHHH” feeling. Maybe it’s just me? I don’t know but I can tell you, they put my coke in a glass and I GUARANTEE after maybe 4 months, they’re going to have to switch back to the plastic cups. I can already see people putting the glasses, plates & cutlery into their huge bags when no one is looking – why? I’m not sure, maybe for souvenir purposes? Like if you think about it….every “out of town” family potentially takes a glass or a plate/fork home…..they can and WILL eventually, have a whole new set of dining wares. I digress……back to the food, I can honestly say, this wasn’t as impressive as I expected. At the end of the day….it’s a food court and it’s not going to give you the same “AHHHH” feeling as a brand new, swanky restaurant and it actually reminded me of all the other food courts in the financial district. You must understand, the Toronto Eaton Centre has “pedestrian” traffic of all and every kind of people….whereas the financial district only gets the office & corporate clientele, so we are used to seeing the clean, brightly lit and “swanky” food courts…minus the strollers running over my toes and kids screaming like the fire alarm.

crepe de licious

fast fresh salad bar

big smoke burger

aroma espresso bar

froshberg gelato

urban herbivore

RARE - i believe it's a salad bar

mcdonalds...fancy styles


thai express

To be honest, I can’t tell you how much I dislike working near the Eaton Centre and using their food court facilities….it is always swarmed with people, which eventually leads to dirtier tables/chairs and then you get all kinds of pedestrian traffic, kids, panhandlers, young’ns who hang out at the mall until their parents are ready to pick them up, etc. Not going to lie, I was one of those young’ns at one point….but it is only when you are OLDER, that you understand how annoying and irritating you were when you were YOUNGER. God help me….I am old. Anyway, I guess you can say I’ve been sheltered in the financial district, where food courts generally empty out after 2pm and then the coffee-breakers start to swarm again around 3pm-ish. Maybe that’s why I haven’t conjured up a huge like for this new food court…..or maybe because it’s no different than any other food court at the mall? Or were my expectations too high?

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